Let's conserve our coral community for the future generations.

"The seas around Malaysia is home to some 3,000 species of fish, 1.000 of species of bivalves and 500 species of reef-building coral. The diversity of marine fauna of the Indo-Pacific region far exceeds that even of other tropical regions."

Fascinating and colourful underwater beauties, enjoyed and shared by vistors to our Marine Parks, are also featured in Malaysian postage stamps.
View them at -




Nudibranchs is a class of Molluscs. They are sea-slugs and because they lack a protective shell, they have developed novel defensive mechanisms. Some render themselves unpalatable by feeding on certain sponges which produce distasteful chemicals while others secrete acid or toxic substances. Mimicry and camouflage are also employed.

Crustaceans - Crabs & Shrimps

Crustacea is a class of arthropods that is primarily aquatic. There are more than 30,000 species of crustaceans. The conspicuous crustaceans in the coral reefs are shrimps, prawns, crabs and lobsters, collectively referred to as decapods. They have 2 pairs of feelers and an exoskeleton (a series of segmented hard shell). The name 'crustacea' is derived from the Latin for shell.
Many reef crustaceans live in hiding to escape from predation, only to come out in the open to feed during the night. Others live symbiotically with sea anemones, corals, gorgonians, molluscs, sponges, echinoderm and sea quirts. Mimicry and camouflage are common.


Coral reefs are formed by gradual accummulation and transformation of tiny soft bodied animals, closely related to sea anemones. The larvae of these coral animals settle on a firm base in shallow water, where abundant sunshine and mild currents allow growth into mature polyps. As it matures, the polyp develops into a tube shape with a mouth that is surrounded by feeding tentacles. A protective external skeleton is produced from calcium salts extracted from the sea water.
Staghorn coral (Acropora sp.)
It is an important reef-building coral which often dorminates shallow areas. Its colonies are green, brown or yellowish in colour and they provide shelter for a variety of small fishes and other sea animals.
Soft coral (Dendronephthya sp.)
This beautiful coral typically grows to a height of 30 cm though it can reach 2 metres when fully extended. During slack currents the soft coral contracts, but faster currents stimulate its expansion - inflating to create a maximum feeding area. Daisy coral (Dendrophyllia sp.)
The colonies are often red or orange in colour, occasionally greyish or dark green. The polyps are sometimes partially extended during the day but are most clearly seen at night. Cylindrical in shape, they are often bright yellow in colour and are very attractive.
Dead men's fingers (Sinularia sp.)
The distinctive fleshy, rubber textured Sinularia is also known, for obvious reasons as "Dead Men's Fingers". The finger shapes are covered with eight tentacles polyps that extend when feeding.
Sea fan (Melithaea sp.)
Forming a delicate fan shape, this coral grows from a stiff rotatable skeleton stem, anchored to the surface. The coral adjusts its angle to present maximum feeding area to the prevailing current directions.

Seashells, Seahorse & Starfish

Giant clam (Tridacna gigas) Kima
It is the world's biggest cockle. An adult can weigh up to 200kg and has a shell length of more than 1.2 metres.
Seahorse (Hippocampus sp) Kuda Laut
The seahorse is a unique marine species and is small in size. It is mostly found in the coral reefs and deep seas.
Starfish (Oreaster occidentalis) Tapak Sulaiman
The starfish or sea star is from a class of Echinoderms called Asteroidea. The body consists of a central 'disc' with mouth on the oral surface and anus on the aboral surface, and five arms.
Helmet shell (Cassis cornuta) Siput Tapak Gajah
It is found in the sandy bottom and has a shell that is distintive in colour, size and shape. This has made its shell a collector's item.

Corals & Trumpetfish

Daisy coral (Tubastrea sp.)
This species is a common 'ahermtypic' (asexual) hard coral with bright yellow polyps. It prefers sheltered and overcast areas and thus, normally found on nooks and crevices of coral boulders. Its coral polyps with their tentacles extended from their skeleton are normally open at night to capture plankton as food.
Gorgonian sea fan (Melithaea sp.)
The sea fan are easily recognised by their fan-like shape and are often brightly coloured (red, purple and yellow), although some come in shades of grey. Normally found in the deeper areas with low light intensity, they are filter feeders and hence the orientation of their fans are perpendicular to the current to allow their polyps maximum exposure to the food source. They can grow to quite a large size of more than 1 metre tall.
Trumpet fish (Aulostomus chinensis)
Trumpet fish are elongated, compressed fish with 8 - 12 isolated dorsal fin spines and a short barbel at the tip of the lower jaw. They are capable of a variety of colour changes and are piscivorous, pipetting smaller fishes with their long snouts, while laying motionless in a vertical head-down position. Often they will acompany a larger fish in order to get closer to their prey.
Brain coral (Symphillia sp.)
The brain coral resembling the human brain is not a particularly common coral and can be found on upper reef slopes. Visually, this species can be identified by the lateral fusion between adjacent lateral walls. The corallum is covered by slightly fleshy tissue that is usually brown, green or white. Small mouths are visible in the valleys and tentacles are generally retracted during the day.

To Stamp Gallery Two


Webmaster: Larry Lam
Email your enquiries, comments and suggestions to
Last updated: 15th January, 2005.